Alliance News Feed – Good News Arrives at “the Ends of the Earth”
Based on a report by Renée Valach, MD, who serves with The Alliance at Bongolo Hospital in Gabon, Central Africa
My story begins in 2007 with a little boy named Edmond. He’s from Etéké, a village about three to four hours north of Bongolo Hospital, where I serve as a medical doctor.
Etéké is about as deep in the rain forest as you can go. The road isn’t really a road; it’s mud—deep, thick, and gooey—nearly impossible to travel during the rainy season.
When I read Acts 1:8, . . . you will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth, I think about Etéké —it’s absolutely “to the ends of the earth.”
Edmond is from this spiritually dark village. Some may remember a few years ago the story about a spiritist ceremony, during which the villagers burned the feet of an Alliance pastor and his colleagues. Etéké is two hours beyond that area.
A Major Decision
Edmond had traveled that long muddy road to receive care at our hospital; his dad, Mark, accompanied him. While this little boy was receiving treatment, both he and Mark decided to follow Jesus.
Mark had had a bad temper. So when he returned to the village, the people could tell there had been a huge change in his personality. As a result, several more Etéké villagers decided to follow Jesus. Soon, an evangelist traveled to the village, and later a lay pastor began ministering there.
Fast forward to 2015. I was at the hospital, caring for Karen, the three-year-old daughter of the lay pastor in Etéké. Her mother asked, “Doctor, could you help our church?”
“What do you need?” I inquired.
I learned that the small fellowship, about 30 people by this time, was meeting in a garage of an abandoned Belgian gold mine company from the 1930s. So I traveled to Etéké to bring them the paint. On another trip, I brought them some Bibles.
I’ve learned from my travels to Etéké that the church leaders will tell the congregation as we gather, “And our preacher today will be Dr. Renée.” So each time I go to the village, I prepare something to say.
Inspired by Habakkuk
On the trip in which I took the Bibles, I knew the congregation had never seen an Old Testament. So I prepared a message from the Book of Habakkuk and showed them the verse in chapter 2, verse 4, The righteous will live by his faith.
I explained how that verse is repeated in the New Testament (Romans 1:17). One young woman put her trust in God because of Habakkuk.
Today the church in Etéké numbers about 100 people. Recently, the Gabonese Alliance network of churches decided to send a fully trained pastor, Mitchell and his wife, Claire Marie, to reach out to the villages in the surrounding area. Praise God!
Bongolo Hospital currently serves about one third of Gabon’s population. All patients—about 40,000 a year—hear a clear presentation of the gospel, along with their families and friends. Last year alone, more than 1,400 people came to Christ through the hospital’s outreach.
Source: Alliance News Feed – Good News Arrives at “the Ends of the Earth”